Daily Archives: March 6, 2017

Domina Cultures – Merfolk

“Land breaks, but water flows.”

– Dagonite saying

Several years after the toy maker was invented, Isaac Clarke managed to perfect the Mermaid Lungs, a large modification to the human respiratory system that allowed them to breathe water as well as air. While it had some efficiency problems, the addition of actual gills changed that, and suddenly it was possible to stay underwater almost indefinitely.

Droves of people fled to the waters of White-Cap Bay. They had many reasons—escaping the Culture Wars, escaping the city itself, or even just a simple childlike wonder for the underwater life. In time, the merfolk culture was as large as any in the city itself. In fact, the merfolk grew so large that they splintered into subcultures that were each nearly as large as a true culture.

At first, everything underwater was chaos and confusion. There were no warlords and few leaders, just a thousand different clans all swimming their own way. The first to unite the clans under his banner was Dagon the Butcher. When an American ship came too close to Domina City, he rallied everyone he could find to sink it and loot the remains. His culture was called the Rahabs, and for over a year, he kept the angry and disenfranchised of the merfolk tribes pointed in the right direction.

When Dagon died due to an unlucky encounter with a torpedo, the Rahabs splintered. Those who wanted to continue Dagon’s legacy of protecting Domina City became the Dagonites, and they lived relatively close to the surface. Those who wanted to continue Dagon’s legacy of killing anyone who got too close kept the name Rahabs, and began attacking everyone, merfolk included.

It was at about this time that the civilian merfolk founded a culture of their own. They called themselves the Atlanteans and began building cities on the floor of the bay, using materials scavenged from Dagon’s sunken ships. This project moved slowly for years as they had to expend most of their resources trading with the surface for food. However, the invention of the Fisheater buff allowed them to eat fish—and nearly anything else in the ocean—raw. This allowed them to stop relying on the surface, and concentrate their resources on building up their cities. Ironically, one of the first things they did once their cities were sufficiently advanced was to start cooking underwater. After all, just because you can eat raw fish doesn’t mean you want to.

The first of these cities was called Plato, followed in a few short years by Critias and Timaeus. They were vast, sprawling metropolises that made use of three-dimensional space to create structures that were completely impossible on land. Visitors from Domina itself, while rare, always spoke glowingly of the glass spires and coral sculptures. A small but thriving tourism industry grew up in all three cities.

Due to their size, the Atlanteans could not be led by single dictators and warlords. Instead of fracturing into clans like the Dagonites or the Rahabs, the Atlanteans chose to mirror Butler’s government on the mainland. Each city elected a mayor, as well as senators for every school and pod that wanted a voice. Despite some early missteps and friction with Necessarius, the system soon proved its worth. The Atlanteans thrived, their farms and fisheries producing more than enough food to keep their people completely independent.

The Dagonites were not sitting idly by all this time, however. While they didn’t have the industrial and manufacturing capabilities of the Atlanteans—nor the unity to build the same—they ranged far and wide, collecting scrap and wrecks. They used these materials to build savage underwater shantytowns, bolstering sea caves and canyons near undersea vents. Their first town, Tolkien, was built directly into the side of Domina City’s island, putting them in a unique position to trade and negotiate with the mainlanders. Other towns, like Hemingway and Poe, had their own claims to fame; Hemingway was built around a series of undersea vents and remains the best smithy in White-Cap Bay, while the town of Poe was built in the area called the Coral Graves and became one of the few tourist spots outside the Atlantean cities.

The Rahabs built their own settlements, but they did not have the numbers to make any grand structures. Instead, they simply found wrecked ships, patched them up as best they could, and launched raids from them. The most famous were the ghost ships, wrecks repaired to the point that they could move like primitive submarines. The first of these, the RS Augustus, launched a surprise attack that nearly crippled Plato for good. They were only fought off by Dagonites led by one of their very first Tridents, Ariel of the Cephalopod Sepulcher. Ariel used weapons provided by Necessarius to force the Rahabs to retreat. She pursued, and even managed to destroy the RS Tiberius and the RS Constantine.

This event paved the way for Atlantean politics for years to come. While many were grateful for the aid, others were convinced that ‘sarian involvement would only escalate the conflict. In time, three political parties emerged: The Naiads, who wished to remain connected to the surface through the Dagonites; the Nereids, who wished for the Atlantean cities to be completely separate from both the mainland and each other; and the Oceanids, who wished for the Atlanteans to band together, but remain cut off from the surface world.

Dagonite reactions mirrored those of the surface. Many of them even belonged to the surface parties, with the Iluvatar (isolationist) and the Kongeegen (Darwinist) being most popular. Most of their Tridents worked closely with the small ‘sarian fleet to keep the waters safe from outsiders, while others worked with the Atlanteans to keep it safe from the Rahabs.

The Rahabs, for their part, did their best to play the Atlanteans and Dagonites against each other. While they didn’t have the skill or patience to do so politically, they found it quite easy to do so militarily. They would attack an Atlantean and Dagonite target at the same time, forcing defenders to choose. When they encountered a strong force, they would flee, inflicting lasting damage with few losses. With countless places to hide in White-Cap Bay, they proved impossible to root out.

A different weapon was needed to defeat the Rahabs: Education and opportunity. The Rahabs consisted primarily of disgruntled young adults lashing out, guided by an older generation with the intelligence and tactics to redirect that anger in a manner they found useful. As the Atlantean cities and Dagonite towns thrived despite the attacks, fewer and fewer children saw the need to rebel so violently. Open borders between the Atlanteans and Dagonites helped as well; Atlanteans who wanted a more dangerous life went to the Dagonites, while Dagonites who wanted safety and structure went to the Atlanteans. While the Rahabs are still not gone, they have been weakened to the point that they are not expected to last more than a single generation. A far cry from the old days, when everyone thought they would haunt the Bay forever.

Severing ties with the mainland caused the merfolk to develop very differently from the surface cultures. Many Atlanteans and Rahabs never go above water at all, creating a world that is almost completely separate from the one above the waves. Furthermore, their different schools and pods are more physical than political; someone can be a jengu or a kappa and belong to any of the three cultures. Sirens are just as common a sight among the Dagonites as the Atlanteans.

One of the primary advantages the merfolk have is almost unlimited space. No one else in the world lives underwater, so it is like they own three-quarters of the planet. While the Atlanteans remain relatively close to Domina City, the Rahabs and the Dagonites have explored far and wide. The Dagonites have received funding from Necessarius to explore the Marianas Trench, and the Rahabs are rumored to have attacked ships as far as Brazil. However, no matter how far they roamed, every merfolk was affected by the Rampage. The Composer hacked their radios to spread her Song, resulting in people miles from the city going into a frothing rage.

Following the Rampage, the Atlanteans have begun to make more overtures to the surface, both through the Dagonites and even, on occasion, themselves. Voices calling for unity are stronger than ever, and support for crushing the Rahabs before they go out of control has risen. The Rahabs are trying to press the advantage caused by the chaos of the Rampage, but the Dagonites are hitting back hard. It is expected that they will be defeated for good soon, and everyone can focus on more external threats.

However, the Rahabs have never been the only danger swimming the waters of White-Cap Bay. Even before the Fisheater buff was invented, the fey had a presence underwater. They acted exactly as they did on the land, offering deals and the Invitation while releasing monsters on the general populace. Underwater gargants—called leviathans by the merfolk—are on average larger and more dangerous than their land-bound cousins. The fey are especially fond of monsters large enough to destroy Rahab wrecks or Atlantean outposts.

Merfolk honored are called razors, while their deviants are known as butchers. Their warlords are called Tridents, and their novices are tadpoles. The microcultures (the sub-subcultures) are known as clans, schools, pods, or herds, depending on the subculture in question.

Cultures:

Atlanteans (anemophobes, bottom-feeders, photophobes)

An insular subculture that have built cities at the bottom of the bay. They shun contact with outsiders. They only appeared when the Fisheater buff (basically a lesser version of the cannibalism buff) was invented, which removed their dependency on land dwellers cooking for them. They maintain ties with the Dagonites in order to fight the Rahabs and, on occasion, trade with the surface. Their three cities are Plato, Critias, and Timaeus.

Cities

Plato

The City of Salt, Plato is the first Atlantean city, and their capital. It also acts as a de facto capital for the merfolk as a group; Dagonites are quite common here, and even Rahabs are welcome if they come alone instead of in a raiding wreck. The city is on the north side of the Domina island, between Domina and North Fusion Island. The power cables run through the middle of the city, and the Atlanteans are allowed to tap energy from them in exchange for keeping them maintained. All the other cables are maintained by the Dagonites. Tourists are invited to visit the First Forest, a massive kelp farm at the heart of the city, as well as the hammerhead fishery. This openness to outsiders is often credited to the Naiads, who have had a slim majority in the city for a long time, but even when the Naiads lose an election, their bills still pass in Congress. The people of the city have become too used to trade and tourism to dial it back now.

Critias

The City of Fire, Critias was completed only a few short weeks after Plato. Built to the south of Domina, past the Fusion Island, it is over a hundred miles from Domina itself. This makes it the most isolated of the three cities, and one of the most isolated merfolk settlements period. Only a few minor Dagonite research outposts can boast more solitude. While this situation suits the Nereids who control the city, cutting off from the rest of the ocean completely is not an option. Underwater trucks and buses ferry goods and people back and forth between its sister Atlantean cities or the closer Dagonite towns. Critias primarily trades in weapons forged in their deep-sea vents, and AIG has their headquarters here. This is also how the city is able to survive without outside assistance; they have more weapons than the rest of the Atlanteans put together. The one time the Rahabs sent a wreck to raid them, Critias sent them packing before the Rahabs even got within range.

Timaeus

The City of Water, Timaeus is located just a mile west of West Fusion Island, and its sprawl abuts the edge of the island. While it is directly between Domina City and New York City, the Atlanteans are careful not to extend too far westward, in case the Americans take umbrage to their presence. From this position, they can easily spot approaching ships, and warn the other merfolk. Likewise, their industry is based around what would be best for the other Atlanteans; they are the only city focused on making plastics and medicine, and their salmon fisheries provide food even for Domina City itself. All this is in service of the goal of unity, as the Oceanids have a strong majority in the city. Timaeus is lucky to have little trouble with the Rahabs; they have little desire to stray too close to New York.

Parties

Naiads

A political party of Atlanteans who don’t want to cut off completely from the surface. They work closely with the Dagonites to trade with the surface, especially for new toys and information. While the other parties don’t like to admit it, their contributions are invaluable. Without them, toy research would grind to a halt.

Nereids

A political party of Atlanteans who think each city should be separate, even from each other. They fight to improve defenses and infrastructure to reduce the need for trade and travel. The fisheries and farms are almost entirely their doing, as are the laws that prevent Atlanteans from getting too close to the American mainland.

Oceanids

A political party of Atlanteans who think the Atlanteans should band together. They encourage trade routes, defense pacts, and exploration teams. There is a minor rift within the party between those who believe that all merfolk should band together, and those who wish to exclude the Dagonites.

Dagonites (boat-killers, sharks)

A violent subculture that prefers the more monstrous parts of the merfolk package, such as shark teeth and sandpaper skin. They maintain contact with the surface, and are best known for patrolling White-Cap Bay and sinking unauthorized boats.

Towns

Tolkien

The first Dagonite town, built directly into the west side of Domina City’s island. They have many structures built onto the cliff face, and over the years they have found and created tunnels through the heart of the island itself. A few of these even reach up to the sewers, where the Dagonites can trade with the fey and other smugglers. Butler is well aware of these unauthorized trade routes, but pretends to be ignorant in order to allow for backups for the space cannons and the city’s other sources of trade. The town also coordinates trade between other merfolk settlements; much of their trade has nothing to do with Domina City itself. All told, Tolkien boasts over a million residents. This should make it a full-fledged city, but the Atlanteans don’t like the Dagonites getting “arrogant.” Tolkien is controlled by an unofficially elected Council of Tridents, who nominate one of their number for mayor every year. The people then either vote for him or select their own candidate.

Hemingway

One of the eastern settlements, nearly fifty miles away from Domina City, Hemingway would be just another unimportant blip on the map if not for their famous undersea vents. The Dagonites built a massive metalworking industry around these, rivaling even Plato and Timaeus—though Critias still has them beat by miles. Despite their distance, travel to and from the town is common, as their goods are in high demand for their efficiency and attention to detail. Oplo Corporation, one of the last merfolk gun companies to still sell on the mainland, was founded here and still has its main office in the largest dome. Hemingway is controlled by the corporations based here, but they know not to push too hard since their entire workforce is armed to the teeth.

Poe

Poe is not so much a town as it is a dozen hotels and a bus service. As one of the closest Dagonite outposts to Domina City, it is in an excellent position to provide guided tours of the Coral Graves, a series of shipwrecks so old that not even the Rahabs saw the need to salvage them. Rainbow-colored coral has covered the ships in the decades—and centuries, in some cases—since they sank. The Graves are also relatively shallow compared to much of the rest of White-Cap Bay, which reduces maintenance costs on the buses and toy costs for the workers who need to swim in the depths.

Rahabs (aqua-nazis, scavs, water-wraiths)

The Rahabs are Atlanteans or Dagonites who rebelled and created a more violent subculture. Unlike the Dagonites, they do not direct their violence in any way, and enjoy bloodshed for the fun of it. They are one of the last old gangs of Domina, which the Necessarians have not been able to eradicate due to their lack of naval power.

Wrecks

RS Augustus

The first and greatest wreck the Rahabs repaired, built from the USS Baldwin. It is a Gleaves-class destroyer boasting nineteen guns (all repaired and modified to fire underwater, albeit at greatly reduced velocity), five torpedo tubes, and a number of depth charge projectors. While it is not as fast as it once was, it is still surprisingly speedy considering its age and the fact that it was never designed to work underwater. The Rahabs repaired and bolstered its armor for the initial raid on Plato, but when they were forced to retreat they found that it slowed them down far too much. Now, they have left most of the great holes and rents in the ship’s hull, as the lost weight greatly improves their speed—and the intimidation factor doesn’t hurt. The current captain of the Augustus is McKenzie, who won the position by brutally slaughtering the previous captain.

RS Tiberius

Built from the wreck of the Gleaves-class destroyer the USS Turner, the Tiberius was still undergoing its initial repairs when the Dagonites attacked. The Augustus had launched an attack on Plato and been driven off, but the Dagonites pursued and discovered the Tiberius still in dock. The Dagonites did serious damage, but luckily for the Rahabs, the weapons had already been repaired and retrofitted to work underwater. Fifteen guns and five torpedoes are enough to drive almost anything off; the Dagonite war pod was forced to retreat with heavy losses. The Rahabs worked overtime to repair their wreck, transforming the ship into a slow but powerful heavy weapons platform with heavy armor plating. It has been a point of pride for every captain to keep her weapons at the cutting edge of military technology; the Rahabs of this wreck are some of the few who do research and development instead of just raiding. Now, while the Tiberius is too slow to actively go on raids, it is common practice for a faster Rahab wreck to bait enemy ships into range, to devastating effect. The current captain of the Tiberius is Angelica Thatch. Unlike most Rahab captains, she was awarded her post for service to the wreck and the cause; the previous captain is still alive, retired under a false name in Critias.

RS Constantine

Ariel, the first Dagonite Trident, often takes credit for sinking the RS Constantine, but the truth is that the wreck of the USS Jacob Jones had barely been lifted off the ocean floor when she stumbled upon it and attacked. The wreck was completely defenseless, and the Rahabs scavenging her were slaughtered. When it was rediscovered, the new salvagers decided that surprise was the greatest asset they could give to her. Jacob Jones was a Wickes-class destroyer, which gave the Rahabs a large foundation to build upon. While her guns were nothing to write home about (four main guns and two machine guns), the twelve torpedo tubes sparked the imagination. Dozens of different types of modified torpedoes were created, from simple high-yield variants all the way down to tubes filled with bloodmad mosscrabs and one containing a small and heavily modified fey shark. Every fight with the Constantine is different, and while it rarely has the raw firepower of any of its sister wrecks, it always has enough tricks to escape and fight another day. The current captain of the Constantine is Saltbreaker, the same one who first recovered the wreck after Ariel’s attack. He has the unflinching loyalty of his crew in all things.

RS Victoria

The Victoria is one of the more recent Rahab wrecks, only five years old. The wreck of the USS Moonstone was only discovered when the Rahabs began spreading farther afield, scouting for more salvage and tricks to use against their enemies. While Moonstone was a shallow wreck, the Rahabs initially passed her over due to her apparent low value; she was a coastal patrol yacht with only three guns and two depth charge tracks. Years with little success against the Dagonites pushed the Rahabs towards hit and run tactics instead of the pure strength and power that the other wrecks boasted. While the Rahabs modified Victoria’s guns to fire underwater, as usual, they made no further upgrades in that area. Instead they focused all their attention on the engines, fighting to create the fastest ship under the waves, Rahab or otherwise. This of course necessitated replacing much of the holed hull, and many note that the Victoria isn’t really a wreck so much as a completely new ship bearing the guns of an old one. In her maiden voyage, the Victoria attempted to attack Critias. While they were fought off before they even got into cannon range, the wreck’s speed and maneuverability proved invaluable, and she managed to escape mostly unscathed. The current captain of the Victoria is Jonas David, who took advantage of the depression following the failed attack on Critias to stage a mutiny.

Merfolk Races

Anguili (eels, slitherers)

Technically a kemo microculture, in practice the anguili are just another merfolk race. They model themselves after eels, with long and sinuous bodies, cartilage replacing bones, and in the rarest of cases electricity glands. The anguili are often engineers, to the surprise of outsiders, due to their ability to squirm into the smallest spaces. This makes them invaluable among all three cultures. Dagonite and Rahab anguili are also terrors in combat due to their ambush abilities, and because of them clearing a Rahab wreck or invading a Dagonite town is always a very dangerous prospect.

Cetac (blubbers, whale-folk)

Technically a kemo microculture, in practice the cetacs are just another merfolk race. They are modeled after whales, including blubber, enhanced vocal cords, and enhanced lungs. They also use a variant of the Bigger buff as a matter of course. While most cetacs are only a few feet taller than normal, some have been known to grow to truly ridiculous proportions that would be impossible on land. Like the giants of the mainland, the cetacs are powerful fighters, and are often used as mobile weapons platforms by the Dagonites or the Rahabs. Among the Atlanteans, they are almost universally singers, playing roles opposite the higher-pitched sirens.

Jengu (glitters, prettyboys/prettygirls, shinies)

The miengu (singular: jengu) are known for prettying themselves up as much as possible. They look mostly human except for their fish tails, but they have an unearthly beauty about them due to careful use of the toy maker. They are best known for their charisma and friendliness, leading many of them to become diplomats or ambassadors, but they can be short-tempered on a number of subjects, most famously their appearance. Everyone remembers the time a jengu screwed up a deal between Tolkien and Hemingway due to a Hemingway forgemaster making a comment about the jengu’s freckles.

Kappa (bleeders, kaps, shredders)

The kappa share quite a few similarities with the trolls on the mainland, though they are not a united culture in the same way. Regardless, they are fond of healing buffs, large claws, and odd skin colors. They are most often found among the Dagonites and the Rahabs, but even the Atlanteans have uses for them. They make excellent soldiers or bodyguards, and many famous merfolk monster slayers are kappa.

Kelpie (horses, weeds)

The kelpies are a varied race, with everything from perfectly human except for gills to fully modified kemo anthro seahorses. The primary thing that units them is a nomadic spirit. Many kelpies are traders, and even those that are not often travel between Atlantean cities, Dagonite towns, or both. Some are not even officially Atlanteans or Dagonites, they travel so much. The Rahabs have kelpies as well—perhaps more than the other cultures, at least by percentage—but they do not associate with their Atlantean and Dagonite cousins.

Manta (gliders)

Technically a kemo microculture, in practice the mantas are just another merfolk race. They are of course modeled after manta rays, turning their arms into massive fleshy wings. Manta anthros are often indistinguishable from true manta rays, which is one of the reasons that merfolk consider it bad luck to hunt the animals. They typically act as scouts, which means the Atlanteans have less use for them, but they are found in all three cultures.

Melusine (plumbers, shiners, water angels)

While they are often referred to as “water angels” due to their use of dayskin, the melusine have no direct connection to the angels of the surface, nor do they have anything against vampires, merrow, or morgen. They primarily use their dayskin either as light in the abyss of the sea, or as a weapon against the fey monsters that lurk in the depths. Since nearly everything in the abyss has nighteyes, this makes them valuable monster slayers. Physically, the melusine occasionally get a serpent tail or even two, but it is more common for them to be completely normal except for their tattoos. Like the angels, they shape their dayskin into letters, but the melusine use Ancient Greek instead of Hebrew.

Merrow (drowners, vultures, water-ghouls)

While nearly every merfolk uses the Fisheater buff in order to expand their diet, the merrow take it a step farther, using the full cannibalism buff like the ghouls on the mainland. They have razor-sharp teeth that they use to rip apart sharks and leviathans alive, and rumors persist that they feed on shipwrecked sailors. It is not uncommon for them to have nighteyes, but many of them never swim down to the depths where such things are necessary. Many merrow have taken to making “bonecharms” out of the bones of their meals; simple trinkets and fetishes from fish bones and plastic ties. These are surprisingly popular, and sell well in both Dagonite tourist traps and Atlantean malls.

Morgen (abyssals, deepers, water-vampires)

United by little more than their use of nighteyes and depth buffs, the morgen are the denizens of the deepest parts of the abyss. The Dagonites have entire towns filled with nothing but morgen, while the best Rahab salvage teams are morgen. Even the Atlanteans have a few, of course, swimming both the undersea caverns beneath the cities and the smaller outposts at the bottom of rifts and canyons. It is usually easy to tell the difference between an Atlantean morgen and a Dagonite one; an Atlantean will look normal except for the eyes, while a Dagonite will have inhuman skin, either that of a shark or one of the stranger things that lurks in the depths. Recently, however, it has become common for morgen from both cultures to get vampire teeth as a show of loyalty and solidarity.

Nixie (Frankensteins, Franks, nixes)

Even in groups as disparate as the merfolk races, the nixies stand out for their lack of unity. They have no archetype, no one they are mimicking. The only thing that binds them together is that they all choose strange and monstrous modifications that keep them from fitting in with the other races. Some are small, some are big, some have shark tails and some just a single web between their legs. They have every combination of skin, eye, and hair—some even have dayeyes, which are nearly useless below water. Nixies are more common among the Dagonites and Rahabs, but even the Atlanteans have a few, mostly in odd jobs that need odd toys.

Ondine (sleepers)

The ondines are an oddity among the merfolk races in that the thing that binds them together is not visible. Ondines can have any number of toys, and in fact they often belong to a second race, but they all have one thing in common: They have the insomniac gland, and therefore no longer need to sleep. Ondines can be found in all three cultures, and are highly sought after due to their increased productivity. Their numbers used to be much larger before the effects of dreamsickness were discovered. After the Ondine Rebellion, recruitment cut down as they were forced to screen out potential candidates much more carefully.

Rusalka (farmers, russes, tribals)

The rusalki are known for two things: Still having human legs, and farming. They can have as many other toys as they want, but their legs have to stay human. These might seem like odd requirements—and indeed, the rusalki are one of the smallest merfolk races—but years of accidents have taught the merfolk that it is easiest to farm when you have legs instead of a tail. Rusalki are rarely seen by outsiders, simply because outsiders have little interest in traveling to the kelp forests and fisheries. After years of being mistaken for vodnik and other races, the rusalki began giving themselves tribal tattoos denoting the location of their farm. These small tribes have began organizing in ways that makes many of the other races uncomfortable. While the rusalki are most common among the Atlanteans, the Dagonites have more than a few as well. The Rahabs, of course, have almost none; usually only those who are in the process of transitioning to another race.

Sahuagin (shark-men, water-demons)

One of the first merfolk races, the sahuagin intentionally modeled themselves after the demons of the mainland. They have large horns and abstract tribal tattoos, though their skin is typically rough and green instead of red or just normal. They were the first merfolk to get shark buffs, including sandpaper skin and razor teeth. Their monstrous appearances can make them intimidating to the other races, and their prowess in personal combat makes them popular in any violent role. They are very common among both the Dagonites and the Rahabs, but nearly unheard of among the Atlanteans.

Selan (deadeyes)

Technically a kemo microculture, in practice the selans are just another merfolk race. They have quite a bit of similarity with the sahuagin, but can usually be identified by their dorsal fins, which the sahuagin do not have. At higher levels, the differences are more pronounced. Obviously, selans are highly sought after by both the Dagonites and the Rahabs. Their nominal Alpha, Alexander the Great White, is a Rahab captain of the wreck RS Athelstan.

Selkie (blubbers, seals)

While most merfolk choose to have a fish tail for easier swimming, the selkies model their tails after seals instead. This makes them a bit slower, but they insist that it is far more comfortable. At the very least, it is usually easier to care for, and selkies spend slightly less time at the doctor getting their tails repaired. Selkies are also known for being pudgy, which keeps them warm even in the coldest waters of White-Cap Bay. They tend to be administrators and non-physical roles, though several Dagonite raiding teams have selkies among their number. Regardless, they are equally common among all the races, but Atlantean selkies are encountered much more often, due to the bureaucracy of the cities.

Siren (songs)

Sirens are completely human except for their beautiful fish tails, and have been known to be mistaken for miengu. However, they have beautiful singing voices, beyond human norms. The modifications to their vocal cords are delicate and complex; not many people have the patience to go through the procedure. Those that do end up in all three cultures. In the Atlantean cities they become singers and performers, in the Dagonite towns they either sing at bars or during raids, and on Rahab wrecks they keep the old pirate shanties alive. They also train themselves to be able to sing perfectly on land or underwater, which is actually quite difficult considering the different harmonics.

Sprite (fliers)

The sprites are the only merfolk race focused on getting wings like some of the surface cultures. Instead of tails, they have large, thin fins under their arms that stretch down to their legs, giving them a maneuverability that most other races cannot match. Following advancements on the mainland, the sprites have begun experimenting with true wings again. Several bat-like wing designs have been seen, as have insectoid fairy wings. All of these designs have had mixed results, but trials continue.

Vodnik (passers, pretenders)

The vodnici are the most human of the merfolk races. They look completely human except for their gills, which they can easily hide while on land. They don’t even have tails or webbed fingers. This puts them in a position where they are both disliked by other merfolk for refusing to break away from their origins, and considered invaluable due to their manual dexterity. Many vodnici go on to become other races, but they are still equally common among all the cultures. Among the Atlanteans, they are known for acting as tour guides for the surfacers, while the Dagonites use them directly as ambassadors.

Merfolk Tridents

Atlantean Tridents

Mayor Nikos Adraktas

Mayor of Plato five years running, Adraktas is a Naiad through and through. He believes strongly in keeping ties to the surface, and so works closely with the Dagonites when at all possible. However, he does believe that Atlanteans should not be directly tied to the surface, so he never speaks to anyone on the mainland himself. This makes him almost completely unknown above the waves. Adraktas is a an ondine melusine who plumbed several of the deepest canyons in White-Cap Bay before settling down for a life of politics.

Mayor Panagiotis Kanelli

The newly elected mayor of Critias, Kanelli still has yet to prove himself a true Nereid. He mostly won the election by all the other candidates being worse. He understands that the people want to keep the city cut off from the surface and each other, but he knows that they still need at least some trade to stay afloat. He is a kelpie, and works closely with his old trader contacts to make sure just the right amount of foreign goods are coming in.

Mayor Liana Konstantopoulos

Mayor of Timaeus, Konstantopoulos is an Oceanid who won the most recent election in a massive landslide. She constantly preaches about a new world under the waves, where all are brothers and sisters. She is a rusalka and a former farmer, which helped win her the vote from the depressed underclass of the city.

Senator John Wavebreaker

A senator from Plato, Wavebreaker is one of the few Atlantean politicians to obtain his position through strength of arms. He is a war hero in the battles against the Rahabs, and is thus almost always referred to with a respectful “Honored Trident” instead of using his senator title. He is most famous for the Battle of the Kelp Forest, when a Rahab raiding party infiltrated the city and tried to poison the kelp farms; Wavebreaker killed most of them by himself before Atlantean reinforcements arrived. Despite his fearsome reputation, Wavebreaker is a friendly and jovial man who believes in unity above all else. While he is nominally a Naiad, he has many sympathies with the Oceanids. Wavebreaker is a sprite, with black water wings to match his inky skin.

Dagonite Tridents

Ariel

Ariel is often called the first Dagonite Trident, though there is some argument on whether that honor should go to Dagon himself instead. Regardless, Ariel is respected as a powerful warlord in the community, with the highest number of destroyed wrecks to her name. She lives in the Cephalopod Sepulcher, a series of canyons between the North and West Fusion Islands that were a breeding ground for fey monsters before the Dagonites moved in. Many attempts have been made to entice her to move to one of the nearby towns, but she insists on remaining out in the wilds. Ariel is always strict and no-nonsense, refusing to compromise on even the smallest thing where Rahabs are concerned. She is an ondine merrow with white shark skin and massive shark teeth. Rumor has it that she even has a buff that replicates a shark’s electricity sense, but this has not been confirmed.

Georgia

Georgia is far more an ambassador than a warlord; in fact, there is some degree of confusion on whether she is a Trident or merely a razor. She spends much of her time coordinating Dagonite efforts with those of other cultures, including Necessarius. She is therefore one of the most famous merfolk on the mainland, and according to some polls, a surprising number of people are under the mistaken impression that she is the leader of the Dagonites. While that is untrue, her ability to juggle multiple different cultures and warlords to keep them all pointed in the same direction is invaluable, and it is rare for the Dagonites to send anyone else as ambassador to any event of importance. She is a vodnik, which allows her to return to land far more than most other merfolk.

Hevatica and Dilithase

Twin sister Tridents who control one of the largest Dagonite pods, the First Spears of Dagon. While they do not officially control any Dagonite towns, they have a very strong presence in Tolkien and Christie, where they are unofficially the only defense forces they have. The sisters are known for solving their problems by killing everyone who disagrees with them, which has led Tolkien to begin political maneuverings to push them out. This, in turn, has forced the sisters to adapt a less violent approach, as they are hardly allowed to slaughter the leaders of the largest Dagonite town. They have had a surprising amount of success, especially by playing various factions against each other. The sisters are sirens, and are often mistaken for miengu.

The Whale-Lord

Johnathan Tar is technically a kemo, Animal King of the pisces culture. However, due to the lack of unity between the kemos under the waves, he is effectively just another Dagonite Trident. He is nomadic, slowly swimming the underwater currents and rivers between Dagonite towns, defending against Rahabs and fey monsters. He has been known to fight off leviathans by himself. At eighty feet from nose to tail, he is the largest human being on record, and one of the largest animals. The only reason he doesn’t need to constantly eat is because of a large number of digestive efficiency buffs, which greatly reduce his food intake. He is a full blue whale anthro, lacking even hands, making him difficult to differentiate from a true whale. Or rather, it would make him difficult to differentiate, if not for the fact that he is covered in enough guns and cannons to put a battleship to shame. While he does need his pod’s help for repair and maintenance, he can aim and fire himself. The guns are all controlled by interfaces in his mouth using his tongue, which is far more dexterous than a true whale’s would be. He even has eyepieces to feed him views from various cameras so that he doesn’t have to turn his massive head to see what he is shooting at.

Rahab Butchers

Alexander the Great White

The captain of the RS Athelstan is technically a kemo, an Alpha of the selan microculture. However, the pisces have little to no presence on land, leaving them to be folded into the merfolk. Alexander, as is expected, is a Great White Shark anthro, and is nearly indistinguishable from a true shark except for his human arms and hands. His wreck, built from the German submarine U-869, is immobile, still stranded where it was first discovered. Alexander launches raids from there on Critias and nearby Dagonite towns, knowing that the wreck is too far for a major counterattack.

Angelica Thatch

The captain of the RS Tiberius may have been granted her post rather than murdering her way to the top, but she should not be underestimated. She was only rewarded after leading dozens of successful raids, both against Dagonite pods and even some Atlantean battleships. She has even made some daring raids against Plato, searching for weaknesses. While the city has always driven her off so far, they have never done enough damage to ensure she won’t return. While her exact location is always unknown, Captain Thatch prefers keeping her ship to the depths of the abyss as much as possible. Fittingly, she is an ondine morgen.

Jonas David

The captain of the RS Victoria, Jonas David was just another crewmember when the wreck attacked Critias and was fought off. While damage was minimal, the crew was not happy with their loss, and David was able to whip them up into a mutiny that somehow ended up with him in charge. Common wisdom is to never trust a word David says. He will say anything he needs to, break any deal, in order to get what he wants. He is a kelpie, and while he is not as physically powerful as most captains, he should not be underestimated.

McKenzie

The captain of the RS Augustus is violent, ruthless, and one of the most powerful merfolk warlords alive. He has a near-perfect success record with his raids, but has always known when it is time to cut his losses and run. This has allowed the Augustus to be sunk three different times, only to rise repaired and renewed within a few weeks. He keeps his wreck within the waters of White-Cap Bay; his bloodthirst is too great to allow him to range farther afield, where scavenging might be more profitable. Captain McKenzie himself is a sahuagin, complete with a shark-like nose that can detect blood from miles away. Rumor has it that he is searching for the wreck of the USS California, a full cruiser, to turn it into a ghost ship that will change the Rahabs’ failing fortunes.

Saltbreaker

Captain of the RS Constantine, the man known only as Saltbreaker is a mystery. He appeared without warning to recover the Constantine after Ariel’s initial attack, and has enjoyed the unflinching loyalty of his crew ever since. Under his command, the wreck ranges far and wide, perhaps farther than any other merfolk of any culture. He has traveled as far down as Brazil looking for wrecks and salvage. The Constantine is the only ghost ship that trades with the lesser, immobile Rahab wrecks on a regular basis. Most just leaves the scraps behind for the others to scavenge, but Saltbreaker seeks out trades and deals for better weapons and strange devices. Rumor has it that he trades with the fey—or even is a fey himself, in a new type of homunculus. Saltbreaker is a nixie, a particularly large variant with armor plating. He can’t swim very fast, but he is a terror in personal combat.

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